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GOVT. CHAPTER 12 The Presidency. Learning Objectives. Who Can Become President?. Who Can Become President?. Article II, Section I of the Constitution states:

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GOVT

CHAPTER 12

The Presidency


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Learning Objectives


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Who Can Become President?


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Who Can Become President?

  • Article II, Section I of the Constitution states:

    • “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”

  • The most common previous occupation of U.S. presidents has been the legal profession.

  • The average age at inauguration has been fifty-four.


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The President’s Many Roles


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Chief Executive

  • Article II of the Constitution makes the president the nation’s chief executive, or the head of the executive branch of the federal government.

  • At the time, nowhere else in the world was there a democratically elected chief executive.


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Commander in Chief

  • Under the Constitution, war powers are divided between Congress and the president.

  • Congress was given the power to declare war and the power to raise and maintain the country’s armed forces.

  • As commander in chief of the nation’s armed forces, the president was given the power to deploy the armed forces.


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Head of State

  • The president engages in many symbolic or ceremonial activities, such as throwing out the first pitch to open the baseball season.

  • The president also decorates war heroes, dedicates parks, receives visiting heads of state, and goes on official state visits to other countries.


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Chief Diplomat

  • A diplomat is a person who represents one country to another.

  • As chief diplomat, the president directs the foreign policy of the United States and is our nation’s most important representative.

  • The Constitution did not explicitly reserve this role to the president, but since the beginning, presidents have assumed the role based on their explicit constitutional powers to recognize foreign governments and to appoint ambassadors.


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Chief Legislator

  • The Constitution requires that the president “from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”

  • Since the administration of Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909), presidents have taken an activist approach in shaping the congressional agenda.


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Political Party Leader

  • The Constitution does not mention this role because, in the eyes of the founders, parties should have no role in the American political system.

  • As party leader, the president exercises substantial power.

    • The president chooses the chairperson of the party’s national committee.

    • The president can exert political power within the party by using presidential appointment and removal powers.


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Presidential Powers


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The President’s Constitutional Powers

  • Sections 2 and 3 of Article II of the Constitution list the specific presidential powers, which include:

    • To serve as commander in chief of the armed forces and the state militias.

    • To appoint, with the Senate’s consent, the heads of the executive departments, ambassadors, justices of the Supreme Court, and other top officials.

    • To deliver the annual State of the Union address and to send other messages to Congress from time to time.

    • To ensure that the laws passed by Congress “be faithfully executed.”

    • To call either house, or both houses, of Congress into special sessions.


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Constitutional Powers: Proposal and Ratification of Treaties

  • A treaty is a formal agreement between two or more sovereign states.

  • The president has sole power to negotiate and sign treaties with other countries; however, the Senate must approve it by a 2/3 vote of the members present.


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Constitutional Powers: The Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons

  • The president’s power to grant a pardon serves as a check on judicial power.

  • In 1925, the Supreme Court held that this power covers all offenses “either before trial, during trial, or after trial, by individuals, or by classes, conditionally or absolutely, and this without modification or regulation by Congress.”


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Constitutional Powers: Veto Power

  • The president can veto a bill passed by Congress, and Congress can override the veto with a 2/3 vote by the members present in each chamber.

  • Presidents have often argued in favor of a line-item veto that would enable them to veto just one, or several, items in a bill.

  • In 1996, Congress passed, and President Clinton signed, a line-item veto bill.

  • In 1998, the Supreme Court concluded that it was unconstitutional.


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The President’s Inherent Powers

  • Inherent powers are those that are necessary to carry out the specific responsibilities of the president as set forth in the Constitution.

  • Certain presidential powers that today are considered part of the rights of the office were simply assumed by strong presidents to be inherent powers of the presidency, and their successors continued to exercise these powers.


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The Expansion of Presidential Powers

  • The Constitution defines presidential powers in very general language.

  • Over the past two centuries, the powers of the president have been defined and expanded by the personalities and policies of various White House occupants, including:

    • Legislative Power

    • Executive Orders

    • Signing Statements

    • Foreign Affairs


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The President’s Expanded Legislative Powers

  • The president works closely with members of Congress to persuade them to support particular programs.

  • The president also sends aides to lobby on Capitol Hill.

  • Barack Obama has shown a surprising willingness to let Congress determine the details of important legislation.


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Legislative Powers: The Power to Persuade

  • The president must rely on the cooperation of others if the administration’s goals are to be accomplished.

  • The president may use a strategy known as “going public” – using press conferences, public appearances, and televised events to arouse public opinion in favor of certain legislative programs.

  • A president who has the support of the public can wield significant persuasive powers over Congress.


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Legislative Powers: The Power to Influence the Economy

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt claimed the presidential power to regulate the economy during the Great Depression in the 1930s.

  • Since that time, Americans have expected the president to be actively involved in economic matters and social programs.


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Expansion of Presidential Power: The Increasing Use of Executive Orders

  • As the nation’s chief executive, the president is considered to have the inherent power to issue executive orders, which are presidential orders to carry out policies described in laws that have been passed by Congress.

  • These orders have the force of law.


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Expansion of Presidential Power: Signing Statements

  • A signing statement is a written statement, appended to a bill at the time the president signs it into law, indicating how the president interprets that legislation.

  • President George W. Bush made wide use of signing statements to avoid being constrained by legislation.

  • In effect, a signing statement is like a line-item veto, allowing the president to disregard a specific provision in a bill if he chose to do so when the law was applied.


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Evolving Presidential Power in Foreign Affairs

  • The president is commander in chief and chief diplomat, but only Congress has the power to formally declare war, and the Senate must ratify any treaty that the president has negotiated with other nations.

  • Presidential power is enhanced by the ability to make executive agreements, which are pacts between the president and other heads of state.


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Evolving Presidential Power in Foreign Affairs

  • The president is commander in chief and chief diplomat, but only Congress has the power to formally declare war, and the Senate must ratify any treaty.

  • Since the time of George Washington, presidents have taken military actions and made foreign policy on many occasions without consulting Congress.


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Foreign Affairs: Executive Agreements

  • Executive agreements are pacts between the president and other heads of state and do not require Senate approval, but they do have the same legal status as treaties.

  • To prevent presidential abuse of this power, Congress passed a law in 1972 requiring the president to inform Congress within 60 days of making any executive agreement.


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Foreign Affairs: Military Actions

  • Although Congress has declared war in only five different conflicts, the United States has engaged in more than 200 activities involving the armed services.


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Foreign Affairs: The War Powers Resolution

  • The War Powers Resolution of 1973 limits the president’s war-making powers.

  • The law requires the president to notify Congress within 48 hours of deploying troops.

  • It also prevents the president from sending troops abroad for more than 60 days.

    • If Congress does not authorize a longer period, the troops must be removed.


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Foreign Affairs: The War on Terrorism

  • President George W. Bush did not obtain a declaration of war from Congress for the war against terrorism that began on Sept. 11, 2001.

  • Congress passed a joint resolution authorizing the president to use “all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.”

  • In October 2002, Congress passed a joint resolution authorizing the use of U.S. armed forces against Iraq.


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The War on Terrorism, cont.

  • Through executive order, the president created military tribunals for trying terrorism suspects.

  • The president also held American citizens as “enemy combatants,” denying them access to their attorneys.

  • In 2007, the Democratic majority in Congress sought to repeal the 2002 authorization and set a deadline for deploying U.S. troops. This was unsuccessful.


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Foreign Affairs: Nuclear Weapons

  • Since 1945, the president has been responsible for deciding if and when to use nuclear weapons.

  • Today, the president travels with the “football” – the briefcase containing codes used to launch a nuclear attack.


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Congressional and Presidential Relations


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Advantage: Congress

  • Congress has the advantage in the areas of legislative authorization, regulation of foreign and interstate commerce, and some budgetary matters.

  • Only Congress has the power to pass legislation and appropriate money.

  • Additional Congressional advantages are the divided government and different constituencies.


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Congress: Divided Government & Different Constituencies

  • When government is divided along partisan lines, the president can have difficulty even getting a legislative agenda to the floor for a vote.

  • Members of Congress represent a state or local district, and this gives them a regional focus.

    • Ideally, the president’s focus should be on the nation as a whole.

  • Members of Congress and the president face different election cycles and the president is limited to two terms in office.


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Advantage: The President

  • The president has the advantage in dealing with a national crisis, setting foreign policy, and in influencing public opinion.

  • In times of crisis, the president can act quickly, speak with one voice, and represent the nation to the world.


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The President: Executive Privilege

  • Some presidents have claimed an inherent executive power to withhold information from, or refuse to appear before, Congress or the courts – this is called executive privilege.

  • One of the problems with this is that it has been used for more than simply to safeguard the national security.

    • President Nixon invoked executive privilege to avoid handing over taped conversations during the Watergate scandal.

    • When Democrats took control of Congress in 2007 and began to investigate various actions by the Bush administration, they were frequently blocked by the claim of executive privilege.


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The Organization of the Executive Branch


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The President’s Cabinet

  • Since the time of our first president, presidents have had an advisory group, or cabinet, to turn to for counsel.

  • Today, the cabinet includes 14 department secretaries, the attorney general, and a number of other officials. Typically the vice president is a member.

  • A kitchen cabinet is a very informal group of persons to whom the president turns for advice.


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The Executive Office of the President

  • In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt set up the Executive Office of the President (EOP) to cope with the increased responsibilities brought on by the Great Depression.

  • The EOP is made up of the top advisors and assistants who help the president carry out major duties.

  • The organization of the EOP is subject to change and presidents have added and subtracted members.


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The EOP: The White House Office

  • The White House Office, headed by the chief of staff, has the most direct contact with the president.

  • The press secretary meets with reporters and makes public statements for the president.

  • The White House staff also includes speechwriters, researchers, the president’s physician, and a correspondence secretary, as well as the staff of the president’s spouse.


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The EOP: The Office of Management and Budget

  • The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has become an important and influential unit of the EOP.

  • The main function of the OMB is to assist the president in preparing for the proposed annual budget.

  • The president appoints the director of the OMB with the consent of the Senate.


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The EOP: The National Security Council

  • The National Security Council (NSC) was established in 1947 to manage the defense and foreign policy of the United States.

  • Its members are the president, the vice president, the secretaries of state and defense, as well as several informal advisors.


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The Vice Presidency and Presidential Succession

  • Presidential nominees choose running mates who balance the ticket or whose appointment rewards or appeases party factions.

  • In recent years, the responsibilities of the vice president have grown immensely. The VP is one of the most important of the president’s advisors.

  • The vice president will become the nation’s chief executive should the president die, be impeached, or resign.


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Presidential Succession

  • The 25th Amendment states that when the president believes that he or she is incapable of performing the duties of office, he or she must inform Congress in writing and the vice president will serve as acting president until the president can resume normal duties.

  • The 25th Amendment also states that when there is a vacancy in the office of the vice president, the president shall nominate a vice president who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote in both houses of Congress.

  • If both the president and vice president die, resign, or are disabled, then the Speaker of the House of Representatives will act as president on his or her resignation as Speaker and as representative.

    • If the Speaker is unavailable, next in line is the president pro tem of the Senate.


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POLITICS ON THE WEB

www.whitehouse.gov

www.bartleby.com/124

www.Millercenter.org/academic/americanpresident

www.4ltrpress.cengage.com/govt


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